A healthy rice bowl restaurant wants to open restaurants in the Fresno area and Northern California.
WaBa Grill plans to open 20 restaurants in the region stretching from Fresno to Sacramento.
One is for the southeast corner of Brawley and Herndon avenues in northwest Fresno, according to leases reported to The Fresno Bee by retail brokers. It’s in the same mall as The Habit Burger and the area’s first Chipotle with drive-thru.
A company representative did not say whether other locations are in the works.
WaBa plans to open its first restaurant in Fresno County in the first half of 2023.
A chain founded in Southern California in 2006, WaBa has nearly 200 locations open or underway. Most of them are found in California and Arizona. He franchises his concept, which means entrepreneurs sign a contract to open new locations.
Franchisees Gurpreet and Navreet Boparai own three of Ventura County’s restaurants. They also have the rights to open WaBa in 16 counties in California.
WaBa touts its healthy menu, mostly in the form of rice in bowls or plates with meat, vegetables and gravy.
It’s a protein picking type menu: choose from two types of chicken, steak (or both), salmon, shrimp, or grilled tofu.
WaBa also offers “Plantspired Steak,” a meatless plant protein that it says is popular with vegans and vegetarians.
Salads and dumplings are also on the menu.
Upcoming Franchises in Fresno/Clovis
WaBa is the latest of several franchises expanding into central California.
The Red Chickz Nashville Hot Chicken and Teriyaki Madness have both announced plans to open locations in the area, but have yet to identify any.
Jollibee plans to open ahead of Fashion Fair. Nick the Greek opens near Red Robin on Blackstone Avenue. Mr. Fries Man and Lee’s Sandwiches arrive at Campus Pointe.
Other upcoming franchise locations that already have a presence here include a Jersey Mike’s on Shaw and Leonard Avenues in Clovis, another The Human Bean cafe drive-thru in front of Fresno Ag, and two more Capriotti sandwich shops – one near the Blackstone Red Robin and another on Shepherd and Willow avenues.
Of course, these franchises are in addition to several new local restaurants coming to town that aren’t franchised, and chains that are also opening locations here.